Last Plant Standing: Fall vs. Spring Garden Clean Up
My last post was about seedheads, but I was going to talk about the importance of letting plants stand through winter. However, I got distracted and forgot. So I’m reblogging this post from 2013, which addresses the question of fall versus spring cleanup.
One way to classify gardeners is based on whether they remove dead plant material in fall or spring. Mostly I’m a spring cleaner.
Birds and bugs are my primary reason. The other day I watched goldfinches feeding on the seed heads of yellow coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), one of the late season sights I love. These and other seed heads are basically free bird feeders. And the tiny seeds left on the ground will attract sparrows and buntings in spring.
Plus, there are all kinds of eggs and hibernating critters in the stems and under the leaf litter. Let them be and you are more likely to have a diverse and healthy population of insects. This is a positive thing as it reduces the chance any one insect species will become a serious problem.
Some people are very enthusiastic about the…
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